• Petersburg is located in the heart of Southeast Alaska. It was founded in 1897 by a Norwegian immigrant Peter Buschmann. He arrived in 1890 and realized that not only was there an abundance of fish in the icy waters surrounding the area but the nearby LeConte Glacier supplied an constant reserve of ice to keep fish fresh. He built a cannery in 1899 and as the word spread Petersburg quickly grew into a thriving Norwegian fishing village. To this day Petersburg is proud of their Scandinavian heritage which is lends to its' nickname "Little Norway".
• With close to 40,000 tourists per year, the tourism industry has quickly become one of the larger industries, second only to fishing. The spring and summer is the prime time for visitors to be seen around town enjoying the rich heritage of the island's community life and locale.
• Around May 17th there is a celebration called Mayfest: Little Norway's May Festival. This Norwegian celebration equals to our Fourth of July. The downtown area is closed off from traffic for the weekend as people crowd the streets and sidewalks partaking of the fine local foods, art and entertainment. Mixed into all the excitement is an array of Norwegian costumes, dancers, Vikings, Valkyries and our very own traditional Viking Ship that rolls down main street in the holidays' parade.
• Petersburg is located in the midst of the Tongass National Forest, a majestic rainforest. It rests on the north end of Mitkof Island surrounded by Frederick Sound and overlooked by Devil's Thumb Mountain. Located in the center of Southeast Alaska's Inside Passage, Mitkof island is part of the Alexander Archipelago.
• Petersburg has an abundant wildlife in and around the island: Bald Eagles, sea lions, Harbor Seals, Dungeness & King Crab, Shrimp, Humpback and Orca Whales, Black Bear, Sitka Black-tailed Deer, moose, Mountain Goats, and Canadian Geese, just to name a few.
• Like most of Southeast Alaska it rains a lot, over 110' Inches a year. That is what keeps the air so clean, gives a hand to the healthy canopy of flora & fauna and helps the creeks stay full of spawning salmon each year.
• This fishing community keeps a steady population of about 3,000 residents year-long.
Photos: Hammer's Slough, City of Petersburg, Sons of Norway Hall, Muskeg View © Donel Judy